Durham Constabulary’s success in taking millions of pounds of drugs off the streets features in a new national publication.
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has shared the pioneering work underway across the area to tackle serious and organised crime linked to drugs and safeguarding vulnerable young people from exploitation.
Commissioner Allen, who is Joint Lead for Addictions and Substance Misuse on behalf of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), contributed to the APCC’s Tackling Addictions In Focus publication which aims to lift the lid on the innovative work underway by PCCs to make their communities safer.
The report features the sweeping successes achieved by the Specialist Crime Operations Unit (SCOU) across Durham throughout 2022 including the seizure of in excess of 29 kilos of Class A drugs with a street value of £1.1m and £30,000 of Class B drugs.
Amongst several successful operations highlighted was Operation Bathurst, a County Lines investigation by Locality Intelligence Teams into the supply of cocaine and cannabis in the Newton Aycliffe area. Search warrants between October 2021 - February 2022, resulted in the seizure of mobile phones, weapons and a significant quantity of class A and B drugs.
In other proactive work in Darlington, which was supported by funding from the National County Lines Coordination Centre, officers were able to identify a number of perpetrators involved in targeting children and young people with intimidation resulting in the arrest of a number of key individuals.
Commissioner Allen said the dynamic efforts of proactive operations had helped reduce drugs-related offences by seven per cent in the county.
“The North East recorded the highest rate of drug deaths by drug misuse, with 24% of drug deaths occurring in the last eight years in our Force area. It is vital these operations continue to ensure we eliminate these dangerous substances from our streets,” she said.
The PCC and Joint Portfolio Lead David Sidwick now sit on the cross-government ministerial forum bringing together ministers and key delivery partners to provide a coherent national response to drug harm and drug crime.
She said PCCs were uniquely placed to drive the partnerships needed to ‘join the dots’ and deliver a more robust approach to one of the public’s highest priorities.
“Durham remains at the very forefront of tackling drug supply and possession and these results confirm it,” she said.
“I’m proud to share this work and learn from our colleagues in how best we keep up these excellent results and make County Durham and Darlington an even harder place for criminal and organised groups to operate.”
Alongside robust enforcement, the publication featured the county’s FREE Program offering support and empowerment to women across County Durham to move them away from abuse and addiction, improve their mental health and wellbeing and ensure they remain out of the criminal justice system.
College bars at Durham University have been praised by PCC for meeting strict standards of safety as part of a national accreditation scheme.
Four outstanding Community Peer Mentor volunteers have been invited to Royal celebration events to mark King Charles III’s Coronation.
PCC has praised the swift roll-out of a free security scheme helping former victims of crime and their neighbours to feel safer in their homes.